Bob is the incredible shrinking columnist By Bob Karolevitz The trouble with growing a bit older is that you have to shorten all your pants.
In my younger days I was a six-footer. Now I can't even make five foot eleven by standing straight and stretching. Good grief, it won't be long before I'm a mere shadow of my former self!
I don't mind that I've just turned 79, but the fact that I've shrunk an inch or two is a bit unnerving. I'm like a cheap shirt that just went through the wash for the first time. All of a sudden it's a size smaller.
Unfortunately the shrinkage has only occurred vertically. I haven't lost a thing around the middle. In other words, what I lost in height, I've gained in girth.
I shouldn't dwell on this phenomenon of aging, though, but the second disconcerting fact is that one of my daughters is now taller than I am. I've got to wear wedgies to keep her from looking down on me. At least I'm taller than my wife. She's shrinking, too!
The revelation of my longitudinal deterioration (I'm using big words to make up for my diminishing stature) came during a family measuring bee. Five of us took off our shoes and stood stocking � footed against the kitchen wall while pencil marks were made of our respective heights.
Sad to say, the tape measure didn't lie. I came in at 5'10 1/2", and Jan topped me at 5'1 1/8". Daughter Jill's mark was at 5' 9 5/8"; Phyllis was 5' 4 7/8"; and grandson Sam, the growing boy, had a reading of 4' 6 3/8". (I think he grew another eighth-inch before we put the tape measure away.)
Lucky for him, son-in-law Pat was off on a selling mission so he didn't have to undergo the ordeal. His time will come.
Phyllis recorded all the heights in her diary so we can see how we stand a year from now. I'm really not sure I want to go through it again, though. If I lost another fraction of a cubit, there's no telling how I'll react. I might just curl up in a fetal position or make an appointment with a head-shrink some place.
I prefer to think of myself in my old basketball-playing prime and not as a dwindling dodderer.
I must say it's been a learning experience, however; and I like to think that � though I am shorter � I'm a couple of inches smarter. Frankly there's more to adding another year than physical shrinkage.
At least my memory isn't slipping. I remember what I had for breakfast. I know where the car keys are. I can recall Phyllis's name most of the time, and I don't put the salt and pepper shakers in the refrigerator.
Now if I can just remember to take my trousers to the seamstress for shortening, I'll be home free.
© 2001 Robert F. Karolevitz